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25th Jan 2018

Party with peace of mind with DBS checked entertainers

Office blogger Charlie discusses the importance of DBS (formerly CRB) checks.

When you’re putting together your next kid’s party, it’s worth being aware of the importance of DBS checks (previously known as CRB checks). DBS inspections mean that an entertainer has passed the rules necessary to work with children and vulnerable adults.

Not checking that a company or individual entertainer has this certification can create unnecessary risks. At DNA Kids we take safety seriously, and have rounded up some important areas to be aware of when hiring a DBS-approved entertainer.

What should you be focusing on in terms of the essentials for regulation changes, as well as for particular professions? Moreover, what other checks can be made to avoid risks when planning a stress free and safe party?


The Essentials

The Disclosure and Barring Service recently replaced the Criminal Records Bureau as the main body responsible for granting adults (over the age of 16) permission to work with children.

The DBS came about as the result of a merger between the CRB and the Independent Safeguarding Authority, and covers areas such as voluntary and paid work, as well as different levels of disclosure for a range of crimes.

There are many benefits to having a DBS checked entertainer, not least removing the potential risk of someone being harmful to children. Companies are not required to obtain certification for some entertainers, but having it is generally a sign of trust.

Recent surveys also indicate that large sections of the British public are now aware of DBS and CRB checks, and value it as a way of reducing potential problems with strangers working with children and vulnerable adults.


Legislative Changes

UK legislation is moving towards stricter definitions of what needs to be covered by a DBS check, and new measures are being introduced that define what activities are covered by reviews. At the same time, rules are developed that take individual cases into account and try to improve feedback.

The legal situation is changing year to year, though, making it important for parents and entertainers to check sources and the law to know what’s expected of them. These rules are also crossing into areas such as Ofsted inspections, and form the basis for a more uniform set of regulations and checks for anyone working with children and at risk adults.

The creation of the DBS was an attempt to streamline a number of different bodies, and to collate records from the Police National Computer, as well as established and updated DBS Adult/Child Barred Lists, making it easier for records to be obtained and checked.

When reviewing DBS rules, it’s worth being aware of what counts as ‘regulated activity’ for entertainers and volunteers, as this can change as new regulations are put into place.

Some of the key areas and activities that fall under this category include particular types of supervised and unsupervised activities, as well as rules over eligibility for stricter checks and whether or not someone can work with children as a driver and as part of certain professions.


Keep Up to Date with Changes

Other rules to be aware of are the different charges and the amount of processes that a company has to go through to get a DBS check; while this information won’t always be to hand, it can give you an idea of the lengths that companies and entertainers that do have certification have gone through.

At time of writing, Standard checks cost £26.00, with a more thorough Enhanced check costing £44.00. There may also be an administration fee by the organisation that submits the DBS check application. The DBS also aims to complete a check within an average of 4 weeks, so check with new companies that they’ve had time to complete their application.


Particular Professions

Any profession that involves contact between entertainers and children is generally eligible for a DBS check. However, there are some areas where it’s particularly important to ensure that there is some form of certification in place; this is the case for professions with a high level of interaction, and can cover clowns and magicians.

Internal industry suggestions from magicians, for example, recommend getting both DBS certification and liability insurance before working at kid’s parties.  This level of attention also applies to DJs, a profession where internal care is usually taken to ensure that entertainers are fully checked and approved by different bodies.

Our DJs at DNA Kids are always DBS checked, and are trusted to work with different parties. Other organisations, such as the community charity Beat This, also emphasise the value of DBS checks as an important part of their appeal and safety practices when working with vulnerable adults and children.


Other Checks

Although DBS checking is important, it’s also worth ensuring that entertainers have PAT tested equipment before they arrive at a party; this can particularly be the case for discos that involve a lot of equipment that’s regularly moved from one venue to another.

DJs can demonstrate that their equipment has been recent tested, and is at the right level of safety to be used in an enclosed space without the risk of an electrical fire occurring or units overheating.

There are some general checks that can be followed before you hire an entertainer for your children’s party. It’s usually best to work with local companies, or those that focus on a particular area and can provide a dedicated service.

It can be easier to get word of mouth recommendations from these companies, as well as more of an awareness of their reputation for safety and DBS checks. Similarly, check websites to see whether entertainers include a page on DBS or CRB certification.

To this end, there are many reasons why DBS checks are crucial to ensuring that a party runs smoothly. Given the time it takes to acquire DBS certification, and the long updating and compliance testing that can occur when regulations are changing, it’s best to work with companies and entertainers with established track records and reputations for safety.

Doing so will remove some of the main stresses associated with hiring party entertainers for your next event.

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